My drive to the mountain

2 Dec
Dove trapped in the Thabazimbi Wimpy

Dove trapped in the Thabazimbi Wimpy

Every now and then, I need to leave Johannesburg. I need – in a way that is so deep-seated that I can’t really express it – to find a road and aim for the horizon. I crave that freedom and the sense of autonomy that driving alone brings with it. Just me, my music and this beautiful car that I must hand back on Thursday. Which is why, yesterday, I had one of those “what the hell” moments again. I decided to find a road and a horizon and not stop driving until I got to the top of a mountain.
Beggar on the R512. I gave him R5.

Beggar on the R512. I gave him R5.

I like the feeling of being on top of a mountain. One of my favourite bands, Sigur Ros, sounds like being on top of amountain feels. I plan to paint this feeling when I get back to Joburg. (I’m typing this as I sit in a Wimpy in Thabazimbi.)

How toilet paper is distributed in Thabazimbi

How toilet paper is distributed in Thabazimbi

There aren’t many mountains you can drive to the top of, and very few within reach of Joburg. The route to this one starts on the William Nicol (also known as the R511) and continues, quite literally, for some 220km until you get to a T-junction and turn right into the R510 to get to Thabazimbi, and then right again to get to Marakele.

I’ve been to this mountain before. It was 10 years ago, in my maroon Corolla, with my then husband. He grew up in the Waterberg, near Naboomspruit. He loved exploring all of its roads, and it’s from him that I picked up my love of heading for the nearest horizon just for the sake of it. My family has no culture of the Sunday drive, none at all. For us, it has always been about the destination.

These two were asking for money from the motorists waiting to go through the tunnel at the Hartbeespoort Dam. I gave them R5.

These two were asking for money from the motorists waiting to go through the tunnel at the Hartbeespoort Dam. I gave them R5.

My destination, this time, is a mountain in the Marakele, which is home to one of the biggest vulture colonies in South Africa. It means driving up a narrow road, passing from a world of kudus to a world of klipspringers and dassies. At the top are radio towers and a view forever.

There is a part of me that needs to be up there. I’m not sure what I’m looking for, but I hope to find it.

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3 Responses to “My drive to the mountain”

  1. PM December 2, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    let us know if you do….

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. An entirely irrational narrative of ridiculous joy - December 10, 2012

    […] Floating in the sky with the rhino is the figure of a girl, and in the top left hand corner, the dove I saw trapped in the Thabazimbi […]

  2. An Anniversary | The Red Robot Project - December 6, 2013

    […] I miss the Range Rover? Yes, of course. I miss having the freedom to drive up mountains. I miss the thumping sound system. I miss the space for transporting easels and artworks. But […]

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